Sunday, 10 August 2008

When the US isn't the US

And I don't mean places like Gitmo.

The Register has noted here that a US Senator has realised that immigration officials have powers that the police and FBI would kill for - the ability to seize and search computer equipment with no cause and no judicial oversight. This has been known outside the US for a while as it has inconvenienced many a business traveller, having to turn their computer on with the officials able to take it away and check the contents of your hard drive if they feel the need, or they're bored.

The Washington post wrote an article and (some of) the country is now unhappy at what would appear to be powers trampling all over at least 2 amendments to the bill of rights (the right to privacy and the right against unwarranted seizure of possessions). The officials dubiously reasoning that as you're not through customs you're not officially on US soil yet. Maybe it's more like Gitmo than I thought.

If they get the law changed for US citizens will it change for foreigners too? I ask (with the full knowledge it won't) because the section of the amendments mention any "person" not any citizen. All people (not Americans) being born equal and all that. It would appear both the logical and right thing to do, but we can't vote so what's the point in doing anything to help us? Democracy in action.

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